January 21, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Nicole Sacre,

Augusta-Attorney General Aaron Frey announced today that he has filed a complaint under the Maine Civil Rights Act in the Cumberland County Superior Court against William Rowe, age 61, of Freeport, Maine. The Complaint alleges that on the evening of November 30, 2021, Rowe threatened a 39-year-old black man with a gun after he observed the man dining with a white female companion at Antonia's Pizzeria in Freeport, Maine. The man was seated in his vehicle in the restaurant parking lot when Rowe confronted him with the barrel of a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol visible under Rowes left arm pit. When Rowe turned away from the man, the barrel pointed in the mans direction.

According to the complaint, the man filmed Rowe on his cell phone as Rowe leaned over the mans window and said, "Something stinks. You got it?" The man calmly asked Rowe, Whats going on? Rowe continued to display the pistol and responded, Freeport, Maine, baby. We dont do this [expletive] in Freeport, Maine.

Rowe continued to confront the man, Im not quite sure whats going on here, and repeatedly asked the victim, What you doing here? The man calmly responded to each question, Im about to head out; I just had dinner; and Im leaving, my man. Rowe accused the man of being a bad, bad guy, then walked away, uttering a series of epithets.

The Complaint alleges that Rowe targeted the man based on his race or color and requests an order prohibiting Rowe from having any contact with victim and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.

AG Frey said, Who could have imagined that in 2021 in Freeport, Maine, a black man would be threatened with violence for dining with a white woman? I am deeply concerned that such racism and intolerance persist in this State. No person should feel unsafe due to the color of his skin and the company he keeps. Such conduct demonstrates the continued need for enforcement under the Maine Civil Rights Act.

The Maine Civil Rights Act authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action against any person who uses physical force or violence, the threat of physical force or violence, property damage or the threat of property damage against another person motivated by bias against the other persons race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. A knowing violation of an order issued under the Civil Rights Act is a Class D crime punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The Cumberland County District Attorneys Office has also filed a criminal complaint against Rowe for Criminal Threatening with a Dangerous Weapon, Threatening Display of a Weapon and Criminal Mischief. Rowes initial appearance is scheduled for February 22, 2022.